Prep girls basketball: Rosecrans downs state-ranked Cadets, 38-21

ZANESVILLE – Fort Frye coach Dan Liedtke warned his team about Rosecrans’ defensive intensity Thursday.

By the time the message got through, it was too late.

The Bishops jumped ahead 15-2 in the first six minutes and never let the Cadets get comfortable in a 38-21 win in a showdown of state-ranked teams at Rogge Gymnasium.

Rosecrans (14-1), ranked 10th by the Associated Press in Division IV, won its seventh consecutive game since a 70-53 loss at Reedsville Eastern in late December.

Fort Frye, No. 7 in Division III, slipped to 13-2.

“I know I’ve been repeating myself a lot when I say this, but ever since that loss at Eastern we’ve really played well,” Bishop coach Gale Kirkbride said. “We’ve had great leadership from our seniors. They’re making everyone else here better players. … I see more smiles now.”

It was hitting on all cylinders early against the Cadets.

The Bishops forced three turnovers to start the game, in which they turned into five points in the first minute.

A 10-2 run that spanned just three minutes followed as four different Rosecrans players scored, including two free throws each from Kloie Johnson and Madison Chandler.

Unable to get its offense started against the Bishops’ array of pressure, Fort Frye managed only seven first-half points on 2-of-15 shooting. They also had 10 turnovers.

Rosecrans outscored the Cadets 12-2 in a low-scoring second as Alexis Kirkbride and Johnson both had 3-pointers in the final minutes of the half.

It was all set up by a defense that frustrated Fort Frye’s offense.

“I told them before the game that (Rosecrans) was going to come out of the gates with more pressure than any team we’ve played all year,” Liedtke said.

“We just didn’t handle it well coming out.”

That was exactly what Gale Kirkbride hoped.

“The past couple of years, we’ve played them and they’ve been so patient running their halfcourt sets and they’ve worn us down as the game goes on,” Kirkbride said. “This year, we wanted to try and extend things a little bit and not make it a half-court game. Nobody has really tried to pressure them.”

The Bishops managed only four third-quarter points, but the Cadets mustered nine of their own to get within 31-16.

Megan Liedtke’s basket on a pick-and-roll to start the fourth made it 31-18, but they wouldn’t score again until Shawntell Parsons banked in a 3 in the final minute.

By that time, it had been decided.

“We got started off on our heels,” Dan Liedtke said. “They came at us with defense. We did a lot of standing around. … I’d have liked to have that second half to start the game, but that’s not how it works.”

Johnson had 11 points with three 3s and Nash added 10 points with 12 rebounds and two blocks.

Megan Liedtke had 10 points for Fort Frye, which managed just seven field goals.